Informal Leadership Learning: Formative Childhood Development (2)

Formative Childhood Development 2Within the family environment, children’s participation in decisions has been seen to stimulate a child to be more active, socially outgoing, intelligent, curious, original and constructive; in larger families social cooperativeness is developed along with an ability to work towards a group goal (Bass, 1990).

Cox and Cooper (1989) identified, in their study of 45 chief executives in the UK, that a common feature of their sample was the affect of childhood experiences on the level of independence and an ability to rely on one’s own resources.

A similar and related earlier finding of ambition and social direction was seen to be significant to leaders who had experienced high quality family relationships (Bass, 1960). In a study by Jennings (1943) it was identified that people in leadership roles identified themselves with a member of their family whom they described as sociable, reliable and encouraging.

Non-leaders identified themselves with family members who expressed discouragement, anxiety and worry. Childhood and adolescent experiences, represented as favorable family conditions, were also seen to be significant in the Piotrowski and Armstrong (1987) study and a link has been suggested between childhood responsibility and respect from elders with the notion of charismatic leadership (Hall, 1983).

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